Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report - 04/05/14
I have added the American March Brown to the list of insects and flies below. I will be
removing the Quill Gordons in two or three more days. There may be a few left to
hatch in the higher elevations, but there are not many because of the lower pH. For
some reason I have never quite understood, the Blue Quills tend to hatch a week or
two beyond the Quill Gordons, but they too, are near the end of the hatch period.
Little Brown stoneflies generally hatch until about the third week in April.
Blue-winged olives continue to hatch for the next several months but keep in mind
there are about a dozen different species called BWOs and they vary greatly in size
from a 16 down to a 20 and even smaller. The larger ones, mostly baetis species,
usually hatch through the month of April and then it reverts back to Little Blue
Winded Olives until the sparse, but larger Eastern BWOs start to hatch.
You will also find lots of Little Short-horned Sedges hatching in the park. I don't list
them because of the many larger insects. They are about a hook size 20. Their
cases look like miniature horse saddles made of tiny rocks. They are firmly stuck to
the rocks and you may think they are just a tiny pile of little rocks. I linked them above
in case anyone wants more information on what these little caddis look like.
Keep in mind that if you fish Abrams Creek, the insects will vary some from the list
below. You can see them listed separately on our Smoky Mountains Hatch Chart.
Smoky Mountain Weather:
Today will be mostly sunny, with a high near 62. Tonight's low will be around 40.
Sunday will be partly sunny, with a high near 64. It will rain Sunday night. They are
showing a 100% chance of it. NWS Forecast
Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links that have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data:
Little River: Rate 348 cfs at 2.23 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 558 cfs at 1.97 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 104 cfs at 2.60 ft
(good wading conditions up to 125 with extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River doesn't have a station nearby but It is near normal.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Cherokee Lake: My guess
is they are near normal levels.
Current Recommended Streams
Any of the streams in the lower to middle elevations.
1. Blue-winged Olives:
Hook Size 18
nymphs (this would be the main fly)
2. Sculpins: Especially good in off color, high water & early/late in the day
Hook Size 4/6/8
Black Matuka Sculpin
Olive Matuka Sculpin
3. Little Brown Stoneflies: 14
4. Blue Quills: 18
5. Quill Gordons: 12/14
emerging duns (wet fly)
6. Little Black Caddis: 18
7. Hendricksons and Red Quills: 12/14
8. American March Browns: 10/12
Recommended Fishing Strategy:
Keep in mind, the strategies I am recommending is for the maximum odds of
catching numbers of fish. Many prefer or favor a dry fly and by all means there
isn't anything wrong with that. It's just a fact that if nothing is hatching at the time, it
reduces your odds of success. You can still probably hook some trout, just not as
many as if you fish subsurface. Of course, this is also based on using good
techniques and the right flies. Some guys don't know how to fish below the surface.
There's a chance you could see some Little Brown stoneflies laying eggs this
afternoon. It is also possible to see some Blue Quills and Quill Gordon hatching but
this will occur mostly in the middle to higher elevations. Until I spotted something
hatching, with the Quill Gordon exception mentioned below, I would fish the BWO or
Blue Quill nymph.
In an area where you spotted Quill Gordons hatching the previous day, you should
fish the Quill Gordon nymph until they begin to hatch and then switch to an Emerging
Adult or dun. I would also make sure I fished the spinner fall late in the day near dark.
You can catch more trout on the spinner fall and in a much shorter time than you can
during the hatch.
The only time I would change from the nymphs mentioned above is when and if I saw
something hatching, and then I would go to the appropriate emerger or dun/adult
imitation of that insect.
There is a good chance Blue Quills, Quill Gordons, and Little Black Caddis will hatch
today. Any or all of them could hatch but this will only occur in the middle to higher
elevations. There not many of either of these insects in the higher elevations but
there are a some in the few larger, slower high elevation streams.
The Hendricksons/Red Quills are usually concentrated but only in isolated locations
consisting mostly of pools and slower moving water. Most Smoky Mountain anglers
don't have a clue as to how to fish pools. That can be a huge mistake. It is also a
huge mistake attempting to fish them with the poor, generic imitations sold by most fly
shops simply because the trout can see the flies in the slower water of the pools.
Little Brown stoneflies are also likely to hatch but the hatch occurs near or after dark.
Fishing the Little Brown stonefly nymph near the banks very late in the day should be
very effective. If you see any Little Brown stoneflies laying eggs, switch to the adult
The Little Black Caddis Brachycentrus (American Grannoms) (size 18) hatch mid
water like many mayflies. They don't crawl out of the water. They fly off the water.
Use an imitation of the pupa during the hatch, and adults during egg laying. They
too, are nearing the end of their hatch period.
Tips for Beginners:
The way to catch any fish that swims is to put a hook in the food it eats. If that isn't
practical, as in the case of fly fishing for trout, you put a hook in something made to
look like the food the trout eat. The more the fly looks and behaves like the real
food, which mostly consist of insects, the more effective it is. It is that
simple. Learn all about the insects that the trout feed on in the Smokies and you can
become a much better angler than the typical bug challenged Smoky Mountain
Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
I know this is going to tee off some of you but quite frankly, if your fishing all day and
not catching at least 30 to 40 trout, you need to stop reading this section and start
reading the "tips for beginners".
Whatever Hits Me:
Thanks for visiting our website.
Copyright 2014 James Marsh
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Little Brown Stonefly
Blue Quill Dun
Quill Gordon Dun
Little Black Caddis
Male Hendrickson Dun, has a redish olive body,
big tomato eyes
Female Hendrickson, has little eyes and
American March Brown dun (This one is a late
season male a little darker than you will find
them early in the season and the one that was
at one time called a Gray Fox.